So, you’ve picked the genre for your tobecontinued… challenge. Amazing!
You’re geared up and you’re really raring to go.
You might even have an idea of what you want to write about, but still… things just keep getting in the way.
It might be just 200 words you’re planning to write but writing is HARD so first thing’s first – don’t feel bad!
If you’re struggling to start, it’s perfectly normal – and it’s where we can help.
We’ve worked with thousands of writers and we know what helps and hinders people to get words out of their head and onto the page.
We’ve distilled our best eight tips to help you get those 200 words out of your head – and onto the page. Good luck!
- Beat procrastination, get yourself a prompt
One free and easy way to get going is to find a writing prompt by searching for images online relating to your chosen story topic. Once you have an image you like, just make a few notes. Look at the image – at the people in it or the situation – and ask yourself: where are you or your character in the story? What do you or they want? What prevents them from getting there?
- Set yourself a teeny-tiny goal
If you’re finding it hard to find the time to write, just think teeny-tiny. Set aside just five minutes tomorrow to think about or write your section. Once you’ve made a start then it will be easier to find the time the next day – and the next. Just give whatever you can and don’t start the negative spiral of guilt and inaction that can come with overwhelming yourself with too much work.
- Get yourself an ‘when – then’ plan
Another tip to keep you writing is to connect your small daily writing activity to something you do regularly and without thinking – this makes it more normal and means it’s not such a big deal. For example, if you take the kids to school every morning, make writing the thing you do for 15 minutes when you get home. If you take a regular morning break, make writing the thing you do in that break.
- Schedule some writing time
A major mistake novice writers make is that they spend way too much time and energy ‘finding the time to write’ and not enough time actually writing. This frequently means that people never get off the starting blocks. So, use our own traffic light method of goal setting to identify the no-go writing times, the possible writing times and the full steam ahead writing slots.
- Just write anything – now!
Psychologists have found that one of the best ways to hoodwink your inner critic is to use an unblocking technique like freewriting. Freewriting involves getting words onto the page without editing and without looking back. Just the process of starting to write and exercising your creative muscle is a proven way to take the blocks out of the way and get the ideas to flow.
- Write with others, write for others
Other people are great at holding you to account with your writing deadline, providing a much needed sounding board and giving you fresh ideas. So, tell family and friends that you’re submitting 200 words (they’ll be prouder of you than you might think!), buddy up with another tobecontinued… participant or if you’re feeling really brave, join a writing group.
- Reward yourself when you’re done
It’s important that you reward yourself and give yourself mini ‘power ups’ for the progress you make at every stage of your writing process. If you’ve written for five minutes a day for a whole week – that’s amazing! It’s only by rewarding yourself that you’ll have the motivation to continue – and increase the time you spend writing.
- …and NEVER, EVER beat yourself up for not writing
This is the golden rule. If you sink back into guilt by thinking ‘if I can’t even write for five minutes then what hope do I have?’ then you’ve let your inner critic win. Never beat yourself up for trying to meet your writing goal. Sometimes life just gets in the way, accept it and move forward – there’s always another five minutes tomorrow.